Well, I see Ann Coulter’s speaking event at Ottawa last night was a non-starter, and Canada and our international reputation is the worse because of it. Apparently, when we don’t agree with someone, we shut them out, shout them down—that’s the University of Ottawa’s way.
The University had made it clear, in writing, Ann Coulter really wasn’t welcome there when its vice-president and provost Francois Houle sent an e-mail to her on Friday, warning her that freedom of speech is defined differently in Canada than in the United States, and that she should take care not to step over the line.
Freedom of speech indeed. That’s what this is about: the freedom of one to express oneself without a threatening crowd of aggressively rude students turning out to shout one down.
These demonstrations are always said (by the demonstrators) to be peaceful. They seldom are, however. Screaming epithets at a guest on campus is not peaceful. This is more like mob rule, and it is deplorable behaviour. Regrettably, though, its all too common behaviour on the campuses of our universities and colleges.
According to my dictionary, “bigotry” is the irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion. And a “bigot” is a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on religion, politics, or race.
Let’s hope the students and faculty at the University of Calgary have more respect for our fundamental human right of freedom of expression and do not repeat the University of Ottawa’s deplorable display of naked bigotry.
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© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
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